Although I had two names on the front of my singlet on race day, only one of those names truly mattered to me as I ran the 26.2 miles – DANA-FARBER.
I ran all 26.2 miles of the Boston Marathon course proudly displaying my team Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge singlet. It was a sign to everyone, both runners and spectators, that I was running with a greater purpose. Yes, running 26.2 miles is noteworthy accomplishment as my recovering legs can attest to that. But, running those 26.2 miles with the primary goal of increasing awareness and actively fighting a devastating disease- now that’s something you can really be proud of. I did have my name printed on the front of my singlet as this is a Boston Marathon tradition, especially for the charity runners. I will admit, I got a little emotional when an adorable little 5-6 year old boy yelled “Go Hilary. You’re doing great!” around mile 13 as he stuck his hand out for a high-five. However, nothing could compare to the overwhelming feeling that washed over me as literally hundreds of people yelled out “Thank you for running for Dana-Farber!” Maybe it was because these reminders of a greater purpose occurred at least every 10 minutes throughout the entire race, that I never felt any sense of urgency in reaching the finish line. Speaking of the Dana-Farber Team, here’s a shot of all 550 of us before the marathon.
Since the marathon was so much more than a usual long-run, it is going to take more than one blog post to give a full recount. Thus, I am going to update the blog with a new marathon story every day or two.
Marathon Mention for 4/24:
Somewhere between miles 22 and 23, as my legs started feeling like I had been running for a couple hours, I saw a family on the right side of the road. There was a teenage girl who was bald, with some peach fuzz growing in and she was wearing an N95 mask (the mask I wore for months after my bone marrow transplant for infection prevention). I instantly had a flashback to the days of mask wearing, post transplant and that amazing feeling I got when I was given clearance to head out into public again. After months of isolation due to infection concerns, being somewhere other than the hospital or my house was complete euphoria, regardless of the mask. I smiled at the girl and waved to her family. Though most of her face was obstructed by the mask, I could tell that she was smiling. That smile will undoubtedly stay with me for the rest of my life. To that amazing cancer fighter, keep kicking ass!